Creating a successful Essay Introduction

When composing an essay, many students focus on the challenges of crafting a thesis, supporting their arguments, and even the finer points of proper citation. Unfortunately, all too many ignore another vital component of well-written essays: the introduction.

Why is a great introduction so important?

The essay introduction is important both for practical and stylistic reasons. From a practical point of view, the introduction serves to alert the reader to the essay topic, to share the thesis, and to outline the basic points of the author’s argument. Most students understand this and provide an introduction that is at least passable from this point of view. However, the introduction serves another purpose: to establish the author’s voice and to build rapport with the reader. These points are often overlooked by beginning writers.

How to write a great introduction

Perhaps the most common mistake students make when crafting their essay introduction is to write it prior to writing the body of the essay. This certainly makes sense from a certain linear point of view, but in practice it often leads to mediocre introductions. That’s because for the vast majority of writers, the body of the essay will undergo significant expansion and development during the writing process. One of the key factors in whether or not an introduction is successful is whether or not the introduction facilitates the essay being perceived as a coherent whole. The following tips can help in writing a great introduction that does your essay justice:

Create an overall outline for the essay before writing the rough draft

  • When writing the rough draft, write the draft of the body of the essay first.
  • Follow the rough draft of the essay by writing a rough draft of the introduction and conclusion.
  • Edit and proofread the body of the essay, finalizing it prior to polishing the introduction and conclusion.

Why write the body of the essay first?

One reason so many experienced writers choose to write the body of their work prior to the introduction is to provide themselves with a reference for creating a great introduction. Although the introduction precedes the body in the essay, it should, by design, refer to information covered in the body of the essay. It’s much easier to write an introduction that refers to the body of the essay if that body has already been written. For the same reason, the body should be edited and proofread prior to refining the introduction.